Let’s just be honest with ourselves. If we’re not on our phones, we’re on our laptops. If we’re not on our laptops, we’re on our phones. We’re texting, e-mailing, communicating, searching, downloading or uploading somebody or something at all hours of the day.
Our obsession with all things digital means more of ourselves exist in gigabytes. But now our right to protect those files, secure that data is compromised. We face a continuous loss of our civil liberties. The most recent problem, to be filed next to “full-body scans,” is the confiscation of mobile electronic devices by federal agents — without a warrant or even “reasonable suspicion.”
In essence, the federal agents can confiscate anything from your computer’s hard drive to the contacts within your phone, as they dance ontop of the gravesite of your civil rights.
From October 2008 to July 2010, there were 6,600 cases of such search and seizures, 3,000 of which happened to U.S. citizens. This isn’t anything new, either — this has been going on since President George W. Bush was in office. The Bush administration was the first to allow federal agents to search through laptops, smartphones and other electronics that copy or share data.
So why is the policy still around? Why is it not apparent that this blatant disregard for our digital privacy is just as terrible as wire-tapping or searching a house without a warrant? During these digital times the ability to move, share and copy data has become both easy and necessary.
Everything you do both privately and possibly publicly (Twitter, Facebook etc.) is connected to electronic devices. Your bank account information, the 100,000 websites you visited within the past week, or even your private medical history. Homeland Security agents can take all the phone numbers you have in that iPhone 4 of yours and not have to give a reason. Not a reason, not a probable cause, not reasonable suspicion. Nothing.
In some of the cases reported, people did not get their items back for weeks or even months.
Enough was enough a long time ago. This is just out of hand, out of control. President Barack Obama needs to restore our civil liberties lost after the post-9-11 hysteria that has plagued our borders for several years now.
We took our shoes off, we listened to the paint-by-number excuse of a terror alert system, and now we’re even letting you scan our bodies.
We don’t have privacy within the real or digital world anymore — it’s been stripped away from us. Many of us don’t even know an America without Homeland Security at the airport: an America without fear, an America with civil liberties.